This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


(photo courtesy Kelly-Strayhorn)

Bill Shannon’s multidisciplinary Touch Update will be presented at New York Live Arts this week (photo courtesy Kelly Strayhorn Theater)

New York Live Arts
219 West 19th St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
November 14-17, $15-$20, 7:30

Extraordinary multidisciplinary artist Bill Shannon brings his latest project, the multimedia Touch Update, to New York Live Arts this week, accompanied by special programs. Shannon is best known for his performances and unique technique using crutches, as he was born with a degenerative hip condition. But that hasn’t stopped Shannon from skateboarding through the Financial District, moving through Duarte Square and Governors Island, and appearing at the Maker Faire in Queens. Over the years, he has been adding cutting-edge technology to his performances and installations, culminating in Touch Update, which incorporates dance, theater, prerecorded and live video, and a cubist mask onto which images are projected; Shannon met with neuroscientists to get everything just right. “It’s built around basic philosophical questions about humanity: Can people change?” he says in an online promo piece in which he also calls the show “a response to the filter of social and digital media and how humans interact.” The seventy-minute work, which was developed at a residency at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, includes reverse engineering of the Shannon Technique for those who do not require crutches and will be performed by Raphael Botelho Nepomuceno, Ron Chunn Jr., Teena Marie Custer, Anna Thompson and Taylor Knight of slowdanger, Jacquea Mae, Cornelius Henke, and David Whitewolf. The November 15 show will be followed by a Stay Late Conversation moderated by Jennifer Edwards; there will also be a Reverse Engineering Workshop ($15) on November 17 at 1:00 and a lecture, “The Condition Arriving” ($10, $5 with ticket), the same day at 5:00.



Art During the Occupation Gallery, Bushwick
119 Ingraham St., Buzzer 05
Ground Floor Main Gallery, Brooklyn Fire Proof Building
Tuesday, November 13, and Wednesday, November 14, $15, 7:30

Art During the Occupation Gallery in Bushwick is temporarily deinstalling its current exhibition, David B. Frye’s “Return of the Mack,” in order to present the two-night experiential art performance Rupture. The thirty-five-minute piece features dance and choreography by Lexie Thrash and Kelsey Kramer, featuring performance artist Eric Gottshall, sound artist Adriana Norat, and musical artist Sonpekiza, exploring ideas of fear, pessimism, displacement, and death through music, movement and wearable sculpture. Tickets are $15; the shows begin at 7:30 and will be followed by a reception with the artists.


wally cardona given

The Black Box at Gibney 280 Broadway
280 Broadway between Chambers & Reade Sts.
November 8-10, $15-$20, 8:00

In 2011, Wally Cardona began his series of Interventions, followed the next year by The Set Up (with Jennifer Lacey), residencies and performances that explored the very nature of dance, narrative, and collaboration. After a public hiatus of nearly four years, Cardona, who was raised in California and Texas, lives in Brooklyn, and teaches at Juilliard and the New School, will present the world premiere of Given at Gibney 280 Broadway November 8-10. “After six years of travel (dancing on dirt, concrete, living room carpets, and pagoda tiles), a return to the dance studio. Time spent emptying, waiting, and doing what seemed like nothing . . . now an offering on the way, in the black box.” The show will feature Cardona with dancers Joanna Kotze and Molly Lieber and composer Jonathan Bepler. As is Cardona’s trademark, not much is known about the show, so you’ll just have to head over to Gibney to check out the latest from this always innovative creator — but it’s hard to go wrong with such outstanding artists as Kotze (What will be like when we get there, It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen) and Lieber (Rude World with Eleanor Smith; Maria Hassabi: Staged).


Faith Ringgold, “United States of Attica,” offset lithograph on paper, © 2018 courtesy ACA Galleries, © 2018 Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold, “United States of Attica,” offset lithograph on paper, © 2018 courtesy ACA Galleries, © 2018 Faith Ringgold

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, November 3, free (some events require advance tickets), 5:00 - 11:00

The Brooklyn Museum explores art and Black Power in the November edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by Antoine Drye, Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe, and the Brooklyn Dance Festival; an Art & Dialogue discussion with curators Valerie Cassel Oliver and Catherine Morris; a hands-on workshop in which participants can create miniature paintings inspired by jazz and the work of Alma Thomas, William T. Williams, and others; a curator tour of “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” with Ashley James; original poetry and music by Jaime Lee Lewis, Jennifer Falu, Joekenneth Museau, Asante Amin, Frank Malloy, and Terry Lovette in addition to excerpts from the 1968 collection Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing; pop-up poetry with Sean DesVignes, Joel Dias-Porter, and Omotara James of Cave Canem; an “Archives as Raw History” tour with archivist Molly Seegers; and the community talk “Black Art Futures Fund.” In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” “Syria, Then and Now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart,” “One: Do Ho Suh,” “Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection,” “Something to Say: Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine, Deborah Kass, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Hank Willis Thomas,” “Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu,” “Rob Wynne: FLOAT,” “Infinite Blue,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more.


Ivo Dimchev: P PROJECT

Ivo Dimchev’s P Project offers audience members cash in exchange for a performance

NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and other NYU locations
566 La Guardia Pl. between Third & Fourth Sts.
October 17-28, free with advance RSVP

This past May, Karl Marx would have turned two hundred years old. The NYU Skirball Center is celebrating his bicentennial with twelve days of special free programming honoring the man who wrote, “The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political, and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.” Audiences can also determine if they want to contribute to the performances based on supply and demand and their own consciousness; the events are all free with advance RSVP but donations are welcome. The “Karl Marx Festival: On Your Marx” begins October 17 at 7:30 with London-based Bulgarian performance artist Ivo Dimchev’s one-hour show, P Project, in which people from the audience will get paid by agreeing to do spur-of-the-moment things involving words that begin with the letter “P.” For example, Dimchev will present them with tasks that might involve such words as Piano, Pray, Pussy, Poetry, Poppers, etc. On October 18 at 6:00, NYU professors Erin Gray, Arun Kundnani, Michael Ralph, and Nikhil Singh will discuss “Racial Capitalism” at the Tamiment Library. On October 19 at 9:30, DJs AndrewAndrew will spin Marxist discs along with readings by special guests from Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto.

marx festival

On October 19 and 20 at 7:30, Brooklyn-based Uruguayan dancer and choreographer luciana achugar will present the world premiere of Brujx, which explores ideas of labor. On October 22 at 6:30, Slavoj Žižek will deliver the Skirball Talks lecture “The Fate of the Commons: A Trotskyite View.” On October 23 at 5:30, NYU professors Lisa Daily, Dean Saranillio, and Jerome Whitington will discuss “Futurity & Consumption” at the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis. On October 24 at 4:00, author Sarah Rose will talk about her 2017 book, No Right to Be Idle at the eighth floor commons at 239 Greene St. On October 25 at 5:30, luciana achugar, Julie Tolentino, and Amin Husain will join for the conversation “Labor, Aesthetics, Identity” at the Department of Performance Studies. On October 26 at 7:30, Malik Gaines, Miguel Gutierrez, Latasha N. Nevada Diggs, Ryan McNamara, Seung-Min Lee, and Alison Kizu-Blair will stage “Courtesy the Artists: Popular Revolt,” a live-sourced multimedia work directed by Alexandro Segade and Amy Ruhl. The festival concludes October 28 at 5:00 with Ethan Philbrick’s Choral Marx, a singing adaptation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s Manifesto for the Communist Party, performed by Benjamin Bath, Gelsey Bell, Sarah Chihaya, Hai-ting Chinn, Tomás Cruz, Amirtha Kidambi, Brian McQueen, Gizelxanath Rodriguez, and Ryan Tracy.


Lilian Steiner and Melanie Lane delve into the public and the private in Lucy Guerin’s Split at BAC (photo by Gregory Lorenzutti)

Lilian Steiner and Melanie Lane delve into the public and the private in Lucy Guerin’s Split at BAC (photo by Gregory Lorenzutti)

Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jerome Robbins Theater
450 West 37th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
October 11-13, $25, 7:30

At the end of Australian company Lucy Guerin Inc’s Split, which continues through October 13 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, the two performers take their well-deserved bows. While Melanie Lane is in the blue dress she wore during the fifty-minute duet, Lilian Steiner is still naked, as she has been since the start. It’s an unusually fascinating moment; when Lane and Steiner first took the stage, the nudity was as bold as it was curious. It feels far more natural as the show goes on, quickly becoming barely noticeable as the two women interact. It’s eventually not an issue at all. But it’s as if Guerin (Corridor, Untrained) is making yet one more point as Steiner now stands before the audience, still in the buff, then runs offstage and comes back covered to more applause. It’s just a human, female body — a vastly talented one at that — and no one else is going to control it.

(photo by Gregory Lorenzutti)

Melanie Lane and Lilian Steiner keep cutting the floor in half in Split (photo by Gregory Lorenzutti)

Split is a mesmerizing piece that follows two women as time and space close in on them. In the first section, Lane and Steiner are in complete synchronicity, moving to the exact same choreography within a large white rectangle. Their arms and hands swirl, they writhe on the floor, the only differences being Lane’s dress and her long, flowing tresses, which is countered by Steiner’s tightly pulled-back hair. It’s as if they’re two parts of the same woman, the public and the private, each unaware of the other’s existence. They’re not mirror images; instead, it’s like Steiner is an X-ray version of Lane, revealing what the body is doing inside the clothing, every bone and muscle celebrating form and movement. After twenty minutes, they cut the black stage in half with a vertical strip of white tape and each stays within that smaller box for the next ten minutes, but now facing each other, their movements consisting of sharp angles, their relationship taking on a fierce, primal quality that borders on jealousy. Their floor space is halved again after five minutes, then two and a half, and so on until they have mere seconds in a tiny area in which they are unable to stand side-by-side. Each segment is lit differently by Paul Lim, accompanied by UK composer Scanner’s (Robin Rimbaud) ever-present percussive electronic score. It’s an enchanting, compelling work whose exploration of the female form falls somewhere between scientific and sensual (and even cannibalistic at one point). Split — the name refers to the way the dancers keep cutting the floor in half as well as how they are like one woman split in two — flows so seamlessly that the nudity fades into the background about halfway through, only to reappear at the curtain call, as Guerin investigates the inner and outer beauty of the human body.


(photo by Gregory Lorenzutti)

Lucy Guerin’s Split makes its US premiere this week at BAC (photo by Gregory Lorenzutti)

Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jerome Robbins Theater
450 West 37th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
October 11-13, $25, 7:30

Adelaide-born, Melbourne-based choreographer Lucy Guerin returns to the Baryshnikov Arts Center for the first time since 2009 — she was last in the city in 2012 with Untrained at BAM — with the US premiere of Split. The fifty-minute piece features two dancers, Melanie Lane and Lilian Steiner, the former clothed (in a costume designed by Harriet Oxley), the latter not. It’s an intimate, bold work on a square staging area that takes aim at the intense pressure we all feel in today’s furious, nonstop world as space and time close in. Split is set to a gently building electronic score by UK composer Scanner, aka Robin Rimbaud, who has written and performed original music for art installations, a musical comedy, a ballet, and more, collaborating with Bryan Ferry, Wayne MacGregor, Steve McQueen, Laurie Anderson, and others. Steiner, a Melbourne-based choreographer and dancer, received a 2017 Helpmann Award for Best Female Dancer in a Ballet, Dance, or Physical Theatre Production for Split; that same year, Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek won the Helpmann Award for Best Choreography in a Ballet, Dance, or Physical Theatre Production for Attraction. Split also garnered several 2018 Green Room Awards, including Best Ensemble (Duo or Trio), Choreography, and Concept and Realisation. The lighting designer is Paul Lim, with sound design by Robin Fox. Guerin, whose previous works include Conversation Piece, Weather, Structure and Sadness, and Tomorrow, recently told the Australian edition of Dance Information about Split, “The process started from various movement ideas, but it went everywhere, as many of my works do. So, there were times when we were working in big cellophane bags, and learning cartoon movement off YouTube. . . . It ended up being quite a dark piece with a real intensity about it. It’s really an abstract work, but it seems to bring out quite strong images for people, and I think that’s partly because of the clarity of the structure.” Split runs at BAC October 11-13, with tickets only $25 but going fast.